The Cumberland County Board of Commissioners’ Crown Event Committee on Tuesday took another step toward construction on the proposed $80 million facility that will replace the aging Crown Theatre and Crown Arena.
The committee, chaired by Commissioner Jeannette Council, unanimously agreed on one of three methods of moving forward in the contracting process with an as-yet-to-be-determined builder.
The three-member committee, which also includes Commissioners Glenn Adams and Jimmy Keefe, voted in favor of a most-commonly used contracting method referred to as construction management-at-risk (CMAR). The committee’s recommendation now goes to the full Board of Commissioners.
In an agenda memo to the commissioners, Jermaine Walker, county Engineering and Infrastructure director, recommended this option.
County Manager Amy Cannon called it the “next big step” in deciding how the county’s owner representative will move the project forward.
Matt DeSilver of MBP Carolinas presented the three contracting methods to the committee. MBP Carolinas is an engineering consulting firm hired by the county as its owner’s representative for the project.
Design-bid-build process is the most common method used in North Carolina, according to DeSilver. This method procures an architect, completes the design to 100%, and then procures the construction contractor.
DeSilver said this method, however, is the longest process. It does allow for competition but the county cannot base its selection on qualifications. DeSilver said this process also is problematic if bids are over budget. Finally, this method results in additional costs if there are problems with the design and the project requires a change order.
The second method is Construction Management-at-Risk (CMAR) and is commonly used at the state level in North Carolina. It allows the county to choose its contractor based on qualifications; however, it comes at a higher cost, according to DeSilver. This method also allows the contractor to be part of the design process. This method also allows for a shorter construction schedule.
The third method is design-build and is not a common means of constructing public facilities in North Carolina, DeSilver said. In this method, the architect actually works for the contractor, rather than the county. Also, DeSilver warned, under this method the design of the facility is “locked at 60 percent,” thus not allowing the owner to tweak designs if last-minute issues arise.
Walker, in his memo, stated, “In order to adhere to the restrictive timeline required to deliver the new Crown Event Center as a complete and useable facility by October 2025, it is important to finalize discussions regarding the construction delivery methods available to the County for this project. Over the years, changes in North Carolina legislation have provided local governments with more options for construction of public facilities.”
The committee also went into a closed session to discuss real property acquisition. Under state law, commissioners can discuss property and real estate acquisition but must take any formal action in an open session.
The commissioners did not take action other than to adjourn after the closed session. Employees of MBP Carolinas have attended the last several closed sessions of the Crown Event Center Committee.
Jason Brady covers Cumberland County government for CityView. He can be reached at email@example.com.